Make a split library portable
Here are the typical layouts for the iTunes folders:
In the layout above, with the media folder (everything in the red box) inside the library folder, the library is considered to be portable. A portable library can be moved from one path to another without breaking the links between the library and the media and being self-contained is much easier to backup.
You can rearrange things to make a split library portable by taking a number of small steps which don't break the library.
Before you start any media files that are outside of the media folder will need to be consolidated. If the library is in the old style layout then it should ideally be be upgraded to iTunes Media Organisation (Library > Organise Library > Rearrange files in the folder <Media Folder>) to ensure that iPod Games, Mobile Applications etc. are brought inside the media folder.
The basic non-fatal manipulations are:
- You can connect to an alternate set of library files by holding down Shift (Win) or Option (Mac) when starting iTunes.
- You can move the library files to a new location as long as the media stays put.
- You can move the library files and the media together if the media folder is a direct subfolder of the library folder.
- If you have already moved/copied the media content from a subfolder of the library folder to a different location then you only need to copy the library files for it to appear as if you have moved the entire library in the way allowed above. I.e. just copy the library files into the parent folder of the media folder.
- You can rename the media folder to iTunes Media (if it isn't already) if the media folder is inside the library folder.
- iTunes uses the name of the folder holding the library files as the window title. Having made a library "portable" you may need to take a final step of renaming the library folder to iTunes or, if the library files have ended up at the root of a drive, moving all of the library files and content folders into a new folder called iTunes.
After each change you need to open, test and close the relevant library before attempting another change. If a change broke the library, undo it or revert to using the previous set of library files.
In essence all you need to do to make your library portable is copy the library files into the parent folder of the media folder on the external/secondary drive and use the hold-down-shift/option-when-starting-iTunes method to connect to it. Other manipulations may be required to normalize the library so that the library and media folders have standard names.
In your specific case,
- Library > Rearrange file in the folder "iTunes Library". Should be grayed out since I can see a Music folder at /iTunes Library on the Drobo..
- Library > Consolidate files. Just in case.
- Close iTunes.
- Copy the contents of .../Music/iTunes, with the exception of iTunes Media & iTunes Music (which should be empty or hold redundant copies), from the Mac mini into the root folder of the Drobo.
- Delete iTunes Music Library.xml, (iTunes will be making a new file called iTunes Library.xml) and, if it were not already the case, rename iTunes Library (file) as iTunes Library.itl.
- Option-start iTunes and connect to the library file in the root of the Drobo.
- Check everything works... Close iTunes.
- Rename iTunes Library as iTunes Media.
- Start iTunes, check everything works, close iTunes.
- Create a folder iTunes in the root of the Drobo, move the iTunes library files, Album Artwork, iTunes Media and Previous iTunes Libraries folder inside iTunes.
- Option-start iTunes and connect to the library file at /iTunes/iTunes Library.itl.
- Check everything works... Enjoy the music.
Thanks so much for your detailed responses. Especially the second one. I'm going to try these steps when I get home. Rest assured, I back up my files religiously, so if anything goes wrong, it is only a matter of a few hours of copying back folders to get it all back to the way it was.
A couple of questions on something you mentioned in the post with steps for my particular case:
In Step 1, the menu option you reference is Reorganize Files, right? And you're correct that it is grayed out under: File > Library > Organize Library...
In Step 2, is it normal that when I have checked the box for Consolidate Library, that the Reorganize Library box remains grayed out? And when I finally click OK for that dialog box (with only "Consolidate Library" checked), absolutely nothing happens currently (not having taken all of your steps of course). With the way the files are currently organized, I click OK and no progress bar, no nothing.
Yep. Reorganize files... is a one-time only tool needed to convert from the old layout to the new one. Again I mention it so that others finding this thread might know they should use it if they can.
The reorganize check box stays dimmed once the library is in the new layout. If there is nothing to consolidate then there is nothing to do. Perhaps iTunes can tell quite quickly if it that is the case, so no progress bar needed.
Would I be able to get your help as well?
I have an XP with iTunes 10, which has both the library and music files on the hard drive. I want to move my library to my new Win7 machine, and move the actual music files to an external HD. I've tried a lot of other forums without success, so if you can give step by step instructions I would really appreciate it!
Let me know if you need any screenshots. Thanks in advance
Where is everything now?
If the layout of the library & media folders is like that on the right in the image above then you should just copy the iTunes folder to the root of the external drive. Connect the drive to the new machine, hold down shift as you start iTunes, then choose the library on the external drive.
If things are less organized or the library is split or in the older layout then give me some more details...
Could I please get your input on a somewhat related situation that I am currently having?
Here is my set up:
Mid 2009 15" MacBookPro
Mountain Lion (latest/only version)
Itunes is up to date as far as this morning is concerned (I check for software updates pretty much daily).
External HD is a Western Digital My Book for Mac 1TB that is a few years old. I've had a few issues with it over the past with it improperly ejecting itself for no known reason but lately those incidents have increased and this weekend it started making some very nasty clicking noises. I've decided to replace this HD and have a 3TB LaCie on it's way.
The issue that concerns me is when I get the new HD I should be able to attach it to my MacBookPro through a USB hub so both external HDs are attached to the machine at the same time.
I'm wondering what is the best way to move all of my Itunes (and Iphotos and my Ipod, Iphone, and Ipad) to the new drive with little to no loss of data.
Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for listening!
Hi. Are library files on the external too? Old layout or new one?
If new layout and all on external you should be able to copy the entire iTunes folder to the new drive and option-start-iTunes to connect to it.
Otherwise I would start by connecting your new drive and making a folder at <Root>/iTunes/iTunes Media on it, set this as your media folder and use File > LIbrary > Organize Library > Consolidate files (or iTunes may prompt you when you change the folder). If library in old layout use File > LIbrary > Organize Library > Reorganize files in folder "iTunes Media" and then consolidate again (doing it in this order cuts down the workload on the old drive). Then, if you want, copy the library files into <Root>/iTunes and option-start-iTunes to make your library portable.
See this post earlier in the thread for a diagram. The layout on the left is old school. The one on the right has an extra folder called Music into which all the artist folder get put, but more importantly Mobile Applications is inside the media folder instead of in the libray folder.
Given your media folder is where you say its is a fair bet that your library files are going to be in <User>/Music>/iTunes on the internal drive so you have a split library.
When you get the new drive do it like this:
- Create the folders /Volumes/<Lacie>/iTunes and /Volumes/<Lacie>/iTunes/iTunes Media.
- Set your media folder to /Volumes/<Lacie>/iTunes/iTunes Media and let iTunes copy the files to the new location when it asks.
- If the media folder is in the old layout use File > LIbrary > Organize Library > Reorganize files in folder "iTunes Media" and then File > LIbrary > Organize Library > Consolidate files.
- Copy the library files from <User>/Music/iTunes into /Volumes/<Lacie>/iTunes and option-start-iTunes to make your library portable. [Optional]
Very helpful - Thank you TT2!
If I may ask a few more questions - you said it appears I have a "split library", is there anyway to consolidate this while I'm making the move?
I'm a little confused as to step #4 in your post above:
Copy the library files from <User>/Music/iTunes into/Volumes/<Lacie>/iTunes and option-start-iTunes to make your library portable.[Optional]
I know this sounds like a really dumb question but what does this do exactly and how do I do it - just hold down the option key while I start up Itunes?
Again - thank you for your patience and help!